Return of HK direct flights to catalyse Koh Samui’s recovery: players

Business confidence among Koh Samui’s hospitality players is boosted with the resumption of Bangkok Airways’ popular direct Koh Samui and Hong Kong service.

The direct air link will commence on July 1, just in time for the summer holidays.

The recovery of Asian source markets to Koh Samui still lags behind that of Europe

While tourism to the Thai resort island has “rebounded well since the reopening of international borders last year”, S Hotels and Resorts, vice president of global commerce, Ludovic Gallerne, said the recovery of Asian source markets still lags behind that of Europe.

He hopes that the return of direct air services from Hong Kong, regarded one of the destination’s key Asian markets, will help to accelerate Koh Samui’s recovery.

Lynn Grebstad, co-owner of luxury villas Suralai, said the connection presents great convenience for tourists and tourism industry stakeholders.

“Taking into account the one-hour time difference, a quick three-hour flight from Hong Kong gets travellers into their villa or resort in time for dinner – a huge bonus for those looking for a short break from hectic Hong Kong. Hong Kong is an important source of bookings for us, and we are delighted with the news from Bangkok Airways,” said Grebstad.

Paul Linder, corporate director of operations at Centara Reserve, told TTG Asia that the service would be particularly important during off-peak travel periods.

“The launch of regular, year-round direct flights from Hong Kong has the power to significantly boost the local economy and accelerate the recovery of tourism in Koh Samui,” he remarked.

With Koh Samui now connected with both Singapore and Hong Kong air hubs, Jane Soergel, president of SKAL International Koh Samui and general manager of U Samui, said access would greatly improve with more international flight connection possibilities.

Soergel hopes a connection with Kuala Lumpur’s air hub “is next”.

Looking ahead, Jirapha Krataithong, general manager of W Koh Samui, said: “With more international flights coming through Thailand and Koh Samui, we could see an increase in revenue by 4Q2023, and the Samui market stabilising from 2024 onwards.”

Jirapha suggests that pent-up demand for Thailand and Koh Samui may eventually surpass 2019 levels.

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